May 25, 2001

Editorial

Regional Government, a bad idea for the Hispanic community

Regional Government is all the rage right now. Leading the way is the legislative mandated Regional Government Efficiency Commission, the brainchild of Sen. Steve Peace. That's right, the same Steve Peace who led the charge for energy deregulation. Apparently not to be outdone, San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy is set to introduce his version of a regional government, as well.

The logic behind regional government is that local governments, boards and commissions are incapable of making hard decisions and solving what are deemed to be regional problems. Examples of such problems are: airports, freeways, and mass transit.

The idea behind regional government is that a commission of appointed members will streamline the decision-making process and kick-start change with the added incentive of more monies that are expected to flow down from Sacramento.

As with the deregulation screw-up in which Peace made San Diego a guinea pig, we will once again become guinea pigs, this time for the issue of regional government.

Why is regional government wrong for the Hispanic community? The answer is rather simple.

The Hispanic community has finally come into power. After all of this time, we are finally gaining access to the levers of power via the elected route, and we are finally assuming leadership roles. Regional government will usurp the power that the Hispanic community has finally grown into.

We see this move to regional government as the white community's response to statewide growth of the Hispanic community, and the eventual loss of power and control that the white community has experienced over the past 100 years.

With the members appointed, the power structure is able to maintain ultimate control over the levers by using the "good old boy" system. Don't believe me? Just take a look at the present board members on the legislative mandated commission! You got it, all members of the "good old boy" system.

With each election, the number of Hispanic, elected officials increases. What regional government does is diminish the roles of elected officials, who will be left to deal with constituent complaints and the burden of filling potholes.

In the meantime, the regional commissions will make decisions that will affect Hispanic communities, i.e., the expansion of Brown Field, which many within the power structure deem as viable and as an alternative to Lindbergh Field. This will leave homeowners and interested parties with little ability to impact the commissioners. There will be no direct accountability.

Regional government is only good for those who wish to maintain their power. For the Hispanic community, it is a step backward.

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